Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mets @ Braves

Attending a Saturday night Braves game is a nine hour event for me. Left home at 2 pm and stopped by Wendys for the lunch I hadn't had time to eat. Then I hopped on 75 South and zipped past the new stadium at 70 MPH - until 75 merged with 85. Then this:  
Gridlocked traffic on a Saturday afternoon. This effects Braves fans headed to the game on both 75 and 85, both north and south. Anyone thinking traffic will be worse at the new park hasn't thought it through, or is just looking at it from their own viewpoint.
Made it to my parking spot and made the walk to Turner Field, passing the employee lot. Had these to big guys in front of me leading the way:
Made it to the dollar line shortly after 3 pm. There were at least 20 already ahead of me, including John Parkes. Held a spot for a dad and his daughter, and befriended 65-year old Paul Greene of Garden Hills, a longtime Braves and Tech fan. We had plenty to talk about. Paul wore low cut hiking boots and a hiking hat.

Bobblehead buds Kevin and Bobby walked up, and we quickly caught up. I was not surprised to see Mr. and Mrs. Pittard in line: they're bobblehead day dollar line regulars as well. Left my backpack with Paul and ventured to the front of the line to talk to John, RJ, tall Darrell, and Kevin. 

Kevin and I talked bobbleheads. He was familiar with this year's Lakeshore Chinooks' fishing themed giveaways: Aaron, Uecker, Yount, and their mascot. With only a thousand made, they're a tough get. I had my eyes on the Uecker. Bobby had already worked a deal for the Hank with our Milwaukee connection, Brian Boyer. I messaged Brian and worked a trade for the Chinooks Uecker and the Brewers Uecker alarm clock for this year's Braves Andruw Spiderman Wall Catch and Chipper ASG. Just like that, my trading is done for the year.
Another character hanging around was the guy in a purple jacket. He acted like he worked for the Braves, but doesn't. Wears the cap, Braves shirt, ID badge around his neck - even a walkie talkie that he frequently talks into. The guys talked to Paul and me, talking about the bobbleheads. Paul asked how many were being given away - twenty thousand? Purple jacket replied "This morning we had a meeting and upped it to 30,000" as if the 50% increase were as easy as pulling them from the closet. He also said he'd asked team CEO Terry McGuirk "why they traded the best shortstop in baseball."  

At 4:40 the ticket window opened, and soon we were inside.

Kevin and RL went off to secure more bobbles. I watched BP and chatted with John. Kevin donned a cap to change his look. Bobby returned, wearing his Bobblehead Addicts shirt. He hadn't worn it while going in and out to redeem tickets for bobbles, of course.

Then K & RL returned and John moved on, the three of us stayed in left field to watch the game. Paul Greene stopped by. I barely recognized him. The hat and boots were gone, replaced by sneakers and a different t-shirt. I almost didn't recognize him. He was changing his look to load up on bobbleheads as well!

K, RL, and I had plenty to talk about, and before long we were standing for the seventh inning stretch. All three of us (and John) nabbed our free designated driver Cokes. 
I wore my Kobe Venomenons - comfortable shoes that look too much like hiking boots and not enough like sneakers. They've seen better days, but I think I'll sell them. I never pulled on my navy road Heyward jersey. My road cap helped with the sun.
A young family of mets fans sat in front of us, each wearing a jersey. Dad had a nice personalized jersey plus Nike cross trainers like Kevin's, only in Mets blue and orange. Young Kaden wore a matt Harvey jersey and blue and orange Nikes - even socks in Mets blue.

RL and I went over to chat up uberfan Norman, the Chocolate Papa. He held court in the last row of the centerfield bleachers, where those of us wanted an audience had to climb up to reach him. Crazy Darrell sat nearby with his ball, glove, and huge smile. Darrell loudly chanted Let's Go Braves, and the Tomahawk Team down below joined Darrell in his chant.

When the Braves were retired in the bottom of the eighth I made my exit. It was almost 11:00 before I got home. A good day.

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